A rare disease known as salivary gland cancer claimed the life of Adam "MCA" Yauch, Beastie Boys rapper, at the age of 47. In 2009, Yauch talked openly about detecting the lump, and since then suffered with various cancers including cancer of the lymph nodes. According to the National Cancer Institute, the chances of developing salivary gland cancer increases when exposed to radiation. One of the first signs of this disease is, as Adam Yauch described, "feeling a lump in the throat."
What is salivary gland cancer?
The salivary glands produce saliva, keeping the mouth lubricated. Saliva contains enzymes that break down foods and protects the mouth from infection. The three major salivary glands are parotid, sublingual and submandibular. This kind of cancer is a type of head and neck cancer.
In some instances, this cancer does not exhibit symptoms; other times it does. Regular symptoms are painless lumps in the ear, jaw, lip, or mouth. You may have difficulty swallowing and facial numbness. Persistent facial pain and draining ear fluid are also symptoms of this disease.
Detecting this disease early is important for survival. Physicians use a magnetic resonance imaging or MRI's, CT and PET scans and endoscopy to detect tumors. After tumors are observed, the physician may order a FNA biopsy.
Choosing a treatment depends on many factors including the cancer stage, which gland the cancer is located in, and the kind of cancer cells it develops. The overall health and age of the patient are crucial to choosing a successful treatment.Sources: